French unions protested against President Emmanuel Macron’s labour law reform for the fourth time this autumn on Thursday. Although the turnout was reported to be lower than on previous days of action, they vowed to keep fighting policies they claim favour the rich at the expense of ordinary people.
There were demonstrations in some 170 towns and cities across France on Thursday and, although thousands turned out, attendance was down on previous days of action, according to police estimates.
For the first time the Force Ouvrière (FO) federation called on its members to join the protests following a rank and file revolt against its refusal to participate in previous marches.
That did not lead to an unalloyed show of unity in the southern port city of Marseille, however.
There were two marches there, one of FO members, the other by members of the CGT union, which has spearheaded the protest movement, and its allies, although they met at the final rally.
And hard-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon attended neither, joining members of his France Unbowed party on the sidelines and criticising divisions in the unions in comments to the press.
In Paris CGT leader Philippe Martinez promised to continue the fight against Macron’s policies.
Workers in the oil industry are discussing industrial action next week, he said.
Having signed the decrees that pushed throough the labour reform, Macron is moving on to changes in unemployment insurance, pensions, training and university access, all of which are stirring up their share of controversy.